Making our forests and trees safer

Several playgrounds, roads and densely populated residential areas are located below cliffs in the capital (particularly in the Grund, Clausen, Neudorf and Pulvermühle districts). Increasing periods of drought are often followed by violent storms that generate massive quantities of water that cannot be absorbed by the soil. The result is water run-off, erosion and uprooted trees, which can lead to landslides and falling rocks. On these cliffs, softwood trees such as conifers struggle and die off quickly. In recent years, the City has commissioned a consultancy firm to carry out a survey of the cliffs and their vegetation. When the risk of collapse becomes too high, the vegetation is cut back in order to examine the rocks. Work to remove the vegetation and install iron or timber trellises and secure the cliffs is carried out by a specialist company. Another challenging area is the city’s forests, particularly the Bambësch forest. Accelerated dieback of oak and beech trees has been observed here, causing fungi to appear on the bark of the trees and branches to crack. In 2022, a shocking 61.7% of the trees in this forest were noticeably or severely damaged, or even dead. In the face of this issue, making these areas safe is essential to protect walkers and the general public. The ongoing monitoring work required is a colossal task and priority is given to trees located close to footpaths. For the areas most at risk, strict assessments are carried out on each tree to establish a register and management micro-plans. In order to improve surveillance, software is used that allows the Service Forêts (Forestry Department) teams to take geotagged photos of dangerous trees, create long-term case histories for the trees in question and draw up statistics.

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